EXHIBITOR Magazine Issues Report on Social Media Marketing

The percentage of companies using social media as an exhibit-marketing implement has tripled, from 30 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2018.

According to the results of EXHIBITOR magazine’s 2018 Social Media Marketing Survey, which is the fifth in a series of research efforts aimed at determining how exhibit and event marketers are utilizing social media, the momentum behind the use of social media as a marketing tool continues to grow. “In 2010, EXHIBITOR surveyed 400 marketers to obtain benchmark data on everything from which social-media sites were proving the most popular for marketing purposes to what corporate objectives, if any, social media was helping companies to achieve,” says Travis Stanton, editor of EXHIBITOR. “Since then, we have surveyed nearly 1,000 exhibiting companies and charted the data against that 2010 benchmark.”

The most recent data paints a pretty clear picture: The use of social media as a marketing tool has exploded over the past eight years. What’s more, the majority of respondents not only have dedicated social-media managers and/or departments to assist in strategizing, executing, and measuring social-media campaigns, but also incorporate paid features to amplify their messages on sites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram. “That’s a stark contrast to 2010, when social media was perceived as an entirely free marketing medium, and roughly 85 percent of corporate social-media campaigns were conceived of and executed by the marketing team, without the aid of dedicated social-media subject-matter experts,” says Stanton.

More than nine out of 10 marketers say their companies are currently using social media for a variety of purposes, including exhibit marketing (91 percent), event marketing (58 percent), and other general marketing purposes (95 percent). And while the majority of them are turning to the mega-popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, other sites are gaining momentum and, not surprisingly, interest among marketers. For example, while only 5 percent of exhibitors were promoting their exhibits on Instagram in 2014, that number has grown to 37 percent today.

Those who are tapping into the potential of social-media marketing claim increased brand awareness, enriched relationships with clients and prospects, increased booth traffic and event attendance, additional press coverage, and even increased sales as direct results of their campaigns. Having said that, only one-third of marketers proactively set measurable objectives to gauge their social-media efforts, and just a slight majority (57 percent) track any metrics to prove the success or failure of their social-media campaigns.

Results from the survey will be published in the September 2018 issue of EXHIBITOR magazine.

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